Walks in Italy is a company that knows the Italian capital from the inside. We love to see the city from a local’s point of view, even though we are all about being tourists with our award-winning walking tours.
The phrase “When in Rome!” is used to describe how you can fully embrace a city and adapt its culture and customs. The phrase is so familiar that it is often used without the context-forming second half: ‘…do what the Romans do!
How does one live like the Romans when they are in Rome?
It would be foolish to skip a visit the Vatican City on your first trip to the capital or to avoid the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and Palatine Hill, but you should treat yourself to gelato at Giolitti whenever you’re in the city. What do you do after you have seen the highlights?
Rome’s less-visited Attractions – Just like the Romans!
You may find yourself in a situation where you have extra time or need to get away from the overwhelming history of the city. It might be time for you to explore lesser-known landmarks, hidden gems, and local experiences. For those who want to see the subtler side of Rome, there are many alternatives to yoga, including rooftop pasta-making classes and fried artichokes.
These are our suggestions:
1. In the Jewish Ghetto, eat fried artichoke
It’s one of the greatest pleasures in life to discover a food you’ve never tried before.
You can try it at the Nonna Betta. This charming kosher restaurant is located along the cobbled-stoned Via del Portico d’Ottavia. It’s also a stop on the Rome food tour.
Bonus tip Bonus tip!
2. Enjoy a stroll through Trastevere at midday
Trastevere , one of Rome’s most vibrant neighborhoods, is also known as . It may not be as touristy as the Vatican City or ancient town, but it is still worth a visit.
Trastevere is known for its laid-back bohemian vibes and side streets. It also has great restaurants and artisan shops. This area offers tourists a welcome break from the bustle of the city centre. There are many backpacker hostels and budget-friendly trattorias in the area. The majority of visitors to this area are younger. Riverside movies are also shown in summer (see below). The charming Sacher Cinema is a permanent home for arthouse movie lovers. You can fill your bag with bargain-basement clothing and trinkets at the Porta Portese, before heading to da Enza for fresh pasta and tiramisu.
3. Spend Saturday morning at the Private Palazzo Colonna
Palazzo Colonna is the largest and oldest private palace in Rome. The 14th century palace, which is home to the Colonna family, is a sprawling stately residence with impressive marble staircases, colourful salons and beautiful hallways. It also has a beautiful courtyard in the center.
The palace is still a private residence for the Colonnas but it is open to the public every Saturday morning. Tickets cost 12 euros and include a guided tour during a specific time. Additional guided tours to other areas of the palace can be arranged for an additional fee. Weekday tours can also be arranged by appointment.
4. Follow the trails of Villa Doria Pamphili
Locals and tourists alike visit Borghese park to find open green space. However, the less-visited Villa Pamphili on the east side of the River Tiber is a great alternative for those who don’t want to be clogged up by the Borghese. Take a break from pasta and pizza on weekends and enjoy a healthy brunch at Bistrot. Then, stroll to the Belvedere lake nearby. Romans love to have lunch outside the Villino Algardi (also known as Casino del Bel Respiro).
Local joggers love Pamphili for its natural trails. Its perimeter measures just 10km, which is the perfect distance to run on Saturday mornings. If you want to see the sights before and after your run, there are water fountains and bathrooms at the entrance.
5. Shop for designer goods at your local vintage market
The Port a Portese Market is bustling with bargain hunters, who are busy looking through souvenir trinkets for 1 euro and haggling for plastic forks. However, the more relaxed Mercato della Citta Ecosolidale allows you to enjoy Saturday browsing.
The eco-friendly market is located in Rome’s Piramide, via del Porto Fluviale. It sells everything from furniture and toys to clothing and jewelry. There are also some amazing vintage dresses and accessories on sale.
Market hours vary depending on when they are open. For more information, check out their Facebook page.
6. Tiber Island is the perfect place to watch a movie
A charming outdoor cinema is set up at the Isola Taberina, showing both Italian and international films. Locals and tourists alike love the L’Isola del Cinema, which shows a movie that highlights a night spent at the riverside market’s craft stands and food stalls.
Evenings are better spent in Rome, with a walk along the river and a movie outdoors. For more information, visit the Isola del Cinema Facebook page.
Continue reading 9 facts you didn’t know regarding the Trevi Fountain in Rome
7. Take an Italian cooking class to learn how to make pasta like a pro
We may be honking our own horns about this one but everyone at Walks of Italy agrees that learning how pasta is made with a local chef and then enjoying a delicious homemade meal on the chef’s rooftop afterward, is a great way to spend an evening or lunchtime! Rome.
Although cooking classes might not seem like something for everyone, many couples, solo travelers, families, and children end up calling them a highlight of their vacation.
8. Cafe Canova Tadolini offers a dinner with art as a backdrop
Caffe Canova Tadoliniis a cafe bar, restaurant, artist atelier and museum located on Via del Babuino. This multi-functional historical location has been a major attraction. There are sculptures and casts of 19th Century artists that spill out onto the street, attracting more tourists. Visitors love the cafe-cum museum for its unique photo opportunities, delicious food, great coffee, and friendly atmosphere.
9. Find your zen at an English-speaking yoga class
Drop-in yoga classes may be the perfect option for you if you feel stressed and need some deep breathing space. Happily there are plenty of English-language-friendly yoga classes dotted around Rome – some even offering special tourist packages too!
Zem Yoga is located near Piazza Navona, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. They specialize in heated or non-heated vinyasa as well as hatha yoga. Drop-in rates start at 13 euro (standard 19 euros), while they also offer a 5-class tourist pass for 95 Euro, which includes a towel, a towel, and a yoga mat.
You can find many English-speaking classes in the city. However, if you are interested in pilates, yoga, barre, or other forms of exercise, Yoga Rome (‘RYOGA) has several studios throughout Rome.
10. Drop by an exhibition at Palazzo delle Esposizioni
A Pixar exhibition at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni | Photo via Facebook
If you find yourself craving a more modern exhibition in Rome, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for in the innovative Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Via Nazionale 194.
The Palazzo has been home to many cultural icons from Rothko and Pixar. Many of its immersive events offer interactive learning opportunities for the whole family.
Recently, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni was completely renovated and is now a modern’space for ideas and culture at an international level. The Palazzo is a peaceful, calm, and open-air space that provides a break from the heat of the sun, tourist hot spots, or other noisy areas. A 136-seat cinema, café, bookshop, and restaurant are all part of the Palazzo. For more information and tickets visit pzzoesposizioni.it
11. Enjoy a mid-summer concert in the Caracalla Spas under the stars
The stunning Caracalla baths, which are the remains of an ancient Roman bath complex, host a wide variety of live concerts, gigs, and operas throughout the summer. If you can catch one, you’re in for a real treat.
These historic events were held in the atmospheric baths. It’s worth looking at the Rome event calendar to find out if tickets are available to any of the most popular shows and concerts.
12. Sunset view at the Eitch Borromini Hotel
Evening at the Eitch Borromini Hotel | Photo via eitchborromini.com
You’re likely to be familiar with Italian culture and how Romans love their aperitivo (or aperitif)!
The Eitchborromini, on Via di Santa Maria dell’Anima, offers some of the most spectacular views in Rome for evening drinks. The sixth-floor rooftop is known as La Grande Bellezza and attracts some of Rome’s most affluent residents. They enjoy relaxing evenings on the terrace while sipping cocktails and chatting with each other while the sun sets over Rome’s Piazza Navona and Pantheon.
Views are not cheap. Ask for the wine list! This one is a treat for someone special, so save it!
Reservations are required for the rooftop bar. Call ahead for more information.